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Foundational Worth

Article by:

Jeremy Rebok, CFO, BS, CPS

Time and time again, we read about different leadership philosophies from around the globe; some better than others. We have seemingly endless resources at our fingertips, unlike years past when we didn’t have TED Talks, iPhones, leadership seminars, Google, etc. The fire departments we currently manage were once built upon a foundation of serving selflessly to the community, ensuring property and lives were protected…more so from fires. In the early days, the foundations that our organizations reside on today were built through specific mindsets and personal agendas.

Today, we are faced with ever growing challenges daily and we find our organizational foundations increasing rapidly often sprinting past our available resources, manpower, budgets and equipment. There are some days where I feel like the world is collapsing around us, forcing us to step outside the foundation walls to meet the mission. This may force a decision that has never been made in the history of our organizations. When we do make these decisions, we are often scrutinized and left to define the “why” adding to the stress of the decision-making process.

Your foundational worth should be driven on how well you are planning for the future. Even if you are not fully funded, you must examine your knowledge and experience to plan for what is to come by examining current trends across the globe. You see, we no longer plan for horse drawn steam engines with a bucket brigade; we plan for the catastrophic tanker fire on the interstate, the mass casualty incidents created by man, the large wildfires caused by mother nature, and the list goes on. Just because you have not witnessed a certain trending activity in your first due area, does not mean it will not happen.

Populations are growing tremendously and building construction is changing rapidly. Technological advances in the world are placing burdens on first responders, while the need for increased training is demanding. Your troops need you to be their coach and mentor.

So…as a leader, ask yourself - What is my “Foundational Worth” and how am I setting my organization up for success?

Here are (5) five topics you should always be working on:

  1. Establish working groups and seek to find what your community needs. This should answer your why; why you are still in existence.

  2. Create a well-designed Community Risk Assessment and Standards of Cover (CRA/SOC); this defines what your risks are, highest target/threat areas, what available resources you have, and what is needed for mitigation efforts.

  3. Design and adhere to an all-encompassing, all-hazards training program that grows the team’s ability to handle emergencies through solid up to date tactics.

  4. Create a mentoring program that allows the team to grow. Step outside your foundational walls to bring in outside resources and learn as much as you possibly can.

  5. Create and maintain a solid set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) that guide the team to success through safe yet aggressive tactics.

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